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Avoiding winter health woes

During winter, viruses are everywhere and the cold weather can test our health. But follow our advice and you can better resist any lurking winter health woes…

Avoiding winter health woes
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What should you do to help your natural defences and protect your health over winter? Whether you are at home or outdoors, take some precautions to make sure you don’t come down with dreaded winter colds, flus and other health woes related to the cold weather.

Out and about in winter

What’s the best advice for dealing with the cold and protecting yourself? Well, firstly it’s best to wear layers rather than one thick jumper. And don’t forget to wear gloves when in the mountains to avoid getting chilblains.

In all circumstances, make sure that you don’t drink too much alcohol if you are out and about over winter, as this could lead to a risk of accidental hypothermia. Every winter, alcohol related deaths are reported in countries with harsh climates such as Russia.

Also be careful of falls, especially when there is black ice, and, it you are not that young, make sure you wear shoes with soles that have a good grip on them. Getting broken bones after 35 is a very different deal from broken bones in your teens…

Winter anti-infection nutrition

Adapt your diet so your body gets the energy it needs. Be careful! It is usual to have meals that are richer in calories when your body has to face low temperatures. But don’t go overboard: this is no reason to pile on the pounds, which will be difficult to shed when summer comes round again.

Get plenty of vitamin C in particular, and eat citrus fruits or juices. Don’t forget vitamin D either (in fish and cheese) and vitamin E (wheat germ, walnuts and hazelnuts). Think about going for probiotics like yoghurts and fermented milk.

Winter health at home

In the home, the risk of indoor pollution is increased in winter because of excessive draft-proofing in homes. Even if the thermostat is almost at zero, you have to think about getting enough air into your home, especially if you have asthmatic children. Guard against cigarette smoke particularly if you have any newborns in your family or around you.

Other winter-related problems include accidents caused by carbon monoxide (CO) emitted by some types of heating and defective cookers. So be vigilant! You should prepare for the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by being on the lookout for symptoms like unexplained headaches, nausea, vomiting and changes in your consciousness. If these symptoms are present, you need to immediately switch off any suspect appliances.

Finally, don’t forget that an open fire must be correctly ventilated and supervised at all times to avoid the risk of fire; using a fireguard is also recommended. You should also pay attention when cooking over charcoal or wood in country cottages, as these can also be causes of house fires.

Posted 24.11.2011

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